Game of Thrones: Baelor   First Watch 
March 13, 2015 11:39 AM - Season 1, Episode 9 - Subscribe

"Wha– what? Did they just– Really?! Oh my– you gotta be fu– WHAT?!" -- Entertainment Weekly, speaking for all of us.

Warning
A Major Plot Development happens during this episode.
If you haven't watched it yet, I strongly suggest doing so before reading further.

Short (Non-Spoilery) Summary
With Sansaʼs life in danger, Ned makes a fateful decision. Catelyn brokers an unsavory deal with the slippery Walder Frey. Tyrion acquires a mistress and is forced by his father to fight on the front lines. Robb meets the Lannister army in battle. Drogo's wound festers.

Ned: "You think my life is some precious thing to me? That I would trade my honor for a few more years… of what?
You grew up with actors. You learned their craft and you learned it well. But I grew up with soldiers.
I learned how to die a long time ago.”
Varys: "Pity. Such a pity. What of your daughter's life, my lord? Is that a precious thing to you?"


Longer Summary (Contains MASSIVE Spoilers -- cribbed from several places, but mostly here.)
In King's Landing, Varys visits Ned in the dungeons under the Red Keep and tells him that Robb is leading an army from the North. He urges Lord Stark to confess to treason and join the Night's Watch in order to save Sansa, who had begged for his life before the court. Ned is insulted by the suggestion that he abandon his honor.
At The Twins, (a heavily fortified river crossing) Robb's army halts. They must negotiate passage with House Frey, who are bannermen to House Tully (Catelyn Stark's father.) Lord Walder Frey has been waiting to ally himself with the winning side. Catelyn strikes a deal: the Freys will allow Robb passage and devote troops to his cause, but Robb and Arya will each need to marry one of Walder's children when the war ends.
Beyond the Wall, Jon Snow is rewarded for saving Lord Commander Mormont. He also has a conversation with Maester Aemon.
Across the Narrow Sea, Khal Drogo's wound festers. Daenerys defies his bloodrider Qotho and puts her trust in the enslaved witch Mirri Maz Duur.
South of The Twins, The Lannister armies prepare for battle. Tywin orders Tyrion to lead the Hill Tribes at the vanguard of the army. Tyrion accuses his father of trying to kill him. Bronn finds a prostitute named Shae for Tyrion. Tyrion explains that he was once married to a commoner named Tysha. A furious Tywin forced Jaime to reveal that Tysha was a prostitute, and that he (Jamie) had staged their meeting. The marriage was annulled.

Tyrion: "And here we have Bronn, son of…"
Bronn: "You wouldn't know him."


After two (mostly offscreen) battles, Robb takes Jamie prisoner.

(The final scene of the episode can be seen here.) Back in King's Landing, a hiding Arya joins a crowd to see her father brought before the Great Sept of Baelor. Unable to see, she climbs onto the pedestal of a statue of Baelor. As Ned is brought in chains to the steps of the temple, he spots her and with a single word, "Baelor," asks Yoren of the Night's Watch to protect her. Ned then abandons his honor and confesses his "crimes" publicly to save his daughters. He tells the crowd that Joffrey is the true King. Joffrey defies his mother, advisors and fiance, and announces that treason must never go unpunished. He commands Ser Ilyn Payne to bring him the traitor's head. The crowd goes into an uproar. A shocked and panicked Cersei tries to countermand Joffrey's order, as does Varys, but there is no time and Joffrey isn't listening. Arya fights to reach her father with her sword drawn. Yoren intercepts her and shields her from seeing what happens next. Sansa screams. Forced to kneel, a wearily resigned Ned looks at the statue and sees that Arya has been rescued by Yoren. Relief shows on his face. Ser Ilyn draws Lord Eddard Stark's own sword, Ice, and cuts his head off with a single blow.

As hundreds of thousands of viewers stare at their televisions in shock.

Introduced In This Episode
Characters
* Shae, A “camp-follower” (prostitute) with the Lannister army who is not from Westeros
* Lord Walder Frey, the Lord of the Crossing and the head of House Frey.
* Lady Joyeuse Erenford, the eighth wife of Lord Walder Frey, the Lord of the Crossing.

Notes
* Peter Dinklage won the award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for this episode -- the first of his career. It would be the only major award received by the series in its first season.
* This was the only episode submitted by HBO for Emmy consideration in the writing category. It won the nomination, but not the award.
* From the start of the show, Sean Bean (Ned) was the most well-known actor in the show's cast. As a result, he was prominently featured in all of HBO's promotional materials for Game of Thrones: posters, commercials, etc. Viewers who had read the book knew he was going to die, but the majority did not and to them his death was shocking. Many were furious.
posted by zarq (12 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is a First Watch with Books thread.

Please do not reveal spoilers for subsequent episodes from any source.

Thank you.
posted by zarq at 11:42 AM on March 13, 2015


As Ned is brought in chains to the steps of the temple, he spots her and with a single word, "Baelor," asks Yoren of the Night's Watch to protect her.

So this is embarrassing but: I've seen this episode a number of times and I'd never realized that that was what happened. Never even noticed Ned say it; I've always been so caught up in the tension and dread.

For me, that exchange is the episode's man-in-a-gorilla-suit. So obvious now it's pointed out.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:32 PM on March 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


From the EW recap: Since this is character exposition during Thrones, I half expect to see two chained prisoners having sex in the background, but no. Ha!
posted by nubs at 12:36 PM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


The two quotes I was going to include but didn't:

Walder Frey: “A little flower. And her honey’s all mine.” Because it's Just. So. Horribly. Creepy.

and

Bronn: Stay low.
Tyrion: Stay low?!
Bronn: If you're lucky, no one will notice you.
posted by zarq at 12:52 PM on March 13, 2015


This is my favourite reaction video from that glorious Sunday evening in 2011.

For me, that exchange is the episode's man-in-a-gorilla-suit. So obvious now it's pointed out.

Was it ever made clear that that was a statue of Baelor? It's obvious in context, but if you hadn't read the books (and had a really good head for details) how would you know whose statute that was?
posted by sparklemotion at 1:30 PM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Clearly I had no idea. :)

We first watched this on DVD I think and so Ned's death wasn't a total surprise: but it's still very shocking, not least as a signal to the audience that being honest and honorable is not necessarily a winning strategy in this world.

There's some foreshadowing of it, I think: Littlefinger's "I warned you not to trust me" betrayal was very much about cunning outplaying honor, and the Ned-and-his-men vs. Jamie-and-the-King's-Guard fight did have a real "holy shit Ned could die right here" edge to it.

Also: this is the moment that Joffrey rises from sadistic-kid-tyrant to full-blown villain-we-love-to-hate. Such a good performance.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 5:44 PM on March 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


As hundreds of thousands of viewers stare at their televisions in shock.

And the rest of us giggle and giggle and giggle with glee.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:19 PM on March 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


It can't have been too surprising- they did cast Sean Bean, after all.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:30 PM on March 13, 2015 [9 favorites]




Oh wow, he really does.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:40 PM on March 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Seeing that were were probably the last people in North America who had never seen this show, we did a binge of the first season a couple of weekends ago. And, yeah, offing Ned really pissed us off, especially my wife. For me, it was a bit more like falling for a huge bait-and-switch, because I'll watch almost anything with Sean Bean in a starring role.

I didn't catch the "Baelor" thing, either. I don't recall any mention being made of the statue's identity earlier in the show, so I think it was one of those "only if you read the book" things. That, or, it got lost in everything else that was happening.

Ned's death aside, once we finished with season one, we found we really had no desire to continue on to subsequent seasons. The whole thing just seemed like a lot of contrived excuses for an excess of violence and (often graphic) bloodshed, and...well...we just don't find violence all that entertaining, no matter how much convoluted politics you wrap it in. I know that is, obviously, a minority opinion.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:54 AM on March 16, 2015


No, it's all a test of wills to see if you can outlast certain characters, or throw in the towel before they die. The books were the same way for me, but because I've read the books, I now find myself watching the show and looking forward to certain scenes, with the shock of other events removed because I know they're coming. I think I can enjoy more of the acting and the scenery, and gloss over the unfortunate, cruel events I know will happen, one way or another. In fact, I've been pleasantly surprised to see some events made less graphic than I was imagining.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:03 AM on March 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


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